Full 2006 Lincoln LS Review
What's New for 2006
Lincoln has discontinued the V6 engine for 2006 and trimmed the car's remaining styles down to a single V8 Sport model, which includes a chrome grille with body-color surround, round foglamps and body-color rear license plate trim. Updated wheel designs and two new option packages round out the changes for '06.
Introduced for the 2000 model year, the midsize, rear-drive LS is Lincoln's most advanced vehicle in terms of technology and engineering, and it has attracted a much younger clientele than Lincoln car dealerships are traditionally used to seeing. Unfortunately, it has never attracted these buyers in the numbers that Lincoln would like.
From the start, the Lincoln LS was aimed squarely at the European brands and, specifically, BMW and Mercedes buyers. In 2003, the LS benefited from extensive updates that saw its 3.9-liter V8 pick up an additional 28 horsepower for a total of 280. Minor transmission and suspension improvements were added for 2004 to further refine the Lincoln's road manners and shift quality. The 2004 model year also saw interior improvements designed to give the Lincoln car a more upscale ambience (real walnut trim found its way to the options list) along with more storage space. Features like side curtain airbags, a high-grade sound system and an onboard navigation system were also added to the options list.
Plunk down about $40,000 and you get a well-mannered V8-powered entry-level luxury sedan with plenty of room for four adults. That the LS is an agreeable car is not in doubt. More of a concern for potential buyers, though, is what else one can get in the $35,000 to $50,000 price range. It's here that our interest in the Lincoln LS starts to wane. More power and style can be had from Chrysler's 300C and 300C SRT-8, for instance. And if one doesn't focus on a V8 requirement, there's also the more refined Acura TL or the new BMW 330i and Lexus IS 350. The 2006 Lincoln LS is still worth a look, but there are at least a half-dozen competitors we'd look at first.
Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options
The midsize Lincoln LS sedan is available in one trim level: V8 Sport. A host of standard features are included, such as 17-inch alloy wheels, dual-zone automatic climate control, leather upholstery, auto-dimming mirrors and power seats with driver's memory. Various optional upgrades include a power moonroof, HID headlights, heated and cooled front seats, walnut burl wood trim, power-adjustable pedals and a DVD-based navigation system combined with a THX-certified six-CD audio system. Many of these options are bundled into the available Elite and Premium option packages.
Powertrains and Performance
The sole powertrain is a 3.9-liter V8 that boasts 280 hp and 286 lb-ft of torque. This V8 is mated to a five-speed automatic transmission that sends power to the rear wheels.
Traction control is standard across the line, while the AdvanceTrac stability control system is optional. The Lincoln's four-wheel antilock disc brakes are equipped with Electronic Brakeforce Distribution (EBD) and BrakeAssist. Side airbags for front passengers are standard; full-length head-curtain airbags and rear parking sensors are optional. In NHTSA crash testing, the Lincoln LS scored five stars for protection of the driver in frontal impacts and four stars for front-passenger protection. Side-impact tests resulted in a four-star score for front-seat occupants and five stars for rear-seat passengers. In 40-mph frontal-offset crash testing by the IIHS, the LS received a "Good" rating (the best possible).
Interior Design and Special Features
Materials quality is not up to the level of import competitors', but real wood, faux titanium and chrome accents add some visual interest to the Lincoln LS cockpit. The leather upholstery is soft to the touch, and although the well-cushioned chairs provide excellent comfort during highway cruising, their lack of lateral support makes them unsuitable for more spirited driving. The backseat offers more room than most entry-level luxury sedans, as even 6-footers will find ample head-, leg- and foot room.
Smooth and gutsy off the line, the V8 remains quiet while providing strong acceleration from almost any speed. The Lincoln's handling is commendable considering its size, but as the turns get smaller, the LS begins to feel bigger. Out on the highway, the 2006 Lincoln LS plays the part of a touring sedan almost perfectly, offering both a smooth ride and secure handling. But as a sport sedan, it's average at best.